January 21, 2019
By Rachel O. S. Edmund
Step children. What should happen to them? Pt 1.
Today I was part of a lively discussion that left me feeling somewhat angry at the society that I live in and the society that has been created because the village is no longer what it used to be. I am very passionate about children of single parent homes because I have been one and I have children who are. In order to fully discuss my views on the subject I have divided today’s blog into two parts.
The discussion stemmed from a question asked in a group to which I belong. I don’t expect many to agree with me however it is really sad to see the level of selfishness that many mothers are displaying and will continue to display because the self-centered society continues to persist.
The question asked was: A woman has a child whom the father does not support financially and has not been a part of the child’s life from the beginning. She meets and becomes the common law wife of another for whom she bears two children. The pair break up after ten years and the father says that if she takes him to court for support, he will only support the two that are his. She asked if it was possible for the mother to claim for all three of her children for support although one was not his.
This question sparked heated debate amongst the group, many conceding that they will have to warn their children (mostly sons) that they should never date a single mother for fear that she will claim for support of a child that he didn’t help to create. The discussion was endless, and it boggled my mind that people would be so callous in their thinking on this subject. What flabbergasted me most is that many stated that the woman was being vindictive, and one even said that “no good deed goes unpunished” relative to the man’s choice of partner! In essence, his choice of her and her child to be a part of his life was a “good deed” on his part not an actual conscious decision to create a family unit.
I really tried to show them how the law thinks relative to such matters and I also tried to show the impact on the child of not supporting them when it was not a problem for him to provide not only financial support but emotional as well initially. It literally broke my heart as a mother and a single mother at that.
I realized however that many were just grandstanding to put on a show for social media because we all know that life is never black and white. We all know that love and matters of the heart do dictate the way that we think toward someone who claims to love us. I imagine that we all have differing opinions on the subject but to me the one thing that was clearly evident was the fact that people are entering into relationships with a sense of responsibility that is non-existent. People lack love or maybe I am too much of an idealist.
I’ve talked about my upbringing before, coming from a single mother household and in all of the seventeen years that I was with my mother I never had the influence of a man in my life in the capacity of a father. My children, unlike me, know who their fathers are but I have left it to them to decide how much hurt they want to endure from them. I have never apologized for wanting and providing that sense of “where do I come from” and “who is my father” to and for them.
Looking at this situation there are a few things that I believe need to be said clearly.
The stepfather/ stepparent
Saying to the mother (or father if the roles are reversed) that he would only support his children fully understanding that the stepchild was a part of the woman’s life from the beginning of their relationship shows a level of selfishness and immaturity. I have had failed relationships and I understand the associated anger and emotions but being the type of person, I am I would never leave a child that called me mummy undone.
For me he/she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; he/she is my son/daughter regardless of the fact that the relationship has failed with the father. He may decide that he will leave with his child, but I will assure that son/daughter that my number will not change and ensure that contact remains to communicate, and it may seem bold to some but to me it is what loving someone (and their child[ren]) truly entails.
The thing is whether I married the father or not WE were ALL a family for ten years and simply because the relationship didn’t work (abuse is the only exception here) does not mean that the child means nothing to me. I think that is a heartless way to be and I dare say the love that was forthcoming was conditional and truly not love.
Daddy comes over to mummy’s home where the children reside. Daddy is there for his first weekend visit since court. Oldest child is excited to see his/her daddy and run out to greet him on the porch. He/she attempts to jump into their arms but daddy is no longer daddy and no longer responsible for him/her. He gives a halfway hug but the child does not understand this. Mummy comes out with the child’s siblings to hand over to daddy for his weekend visit. He says his goodbyes to the child and leaves with his children in tow…
Catch part two of “Step children” in the next installment of the blog.
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